So, I already published all this on tumblr, but I thought it would be good to put my devotional writings here on wordpress, too.
You made me a dragon-
I’m all fierceness and power and flight,
Freedom and fire and glittering scales.
You made a dragon
Out of a lonely young girl with a soul-deep hunger
Feeling like I would combust if I kept still.
I didn’t know what I was asking for,
But you did, and you delivered,
You sadistic son of a bitch.
Through blood and fire, pain and fear,
You made me a dragon,
And I have never been happier.
I don’t know if I want to thank you
Or tell you to go to hell
But one thing I don’t want to do,
Is run. Not again.
Not ever again.
I am a dragon now,
And I am never going back!
I am thirteen years old and something is watching me.
The scariest thing is I don’t know how long it’s been around; it’s so subtle, this back-of-my-mind awareness, that it could’ve been hanging around for a long time before I ever noticed it. See, what’ll usually happen is I’ll get in one of my moods -because someone at school was mean or my parents didn’t come home – and I’ll start thinking dark thoughts, angry, nihilistic thoughts with the words ‘hope’ and ‘chaos’ and ‘love’ and ‘evil’ brawling it out, trying to figure out how they fit together inside of me. I’ll sit and think of these things and suddenly I’ll think I see something, or hear something; I’ll feel eyes on the back of my neck and I’ll get the strangest feeling that something is listening to me, to my thoughts.
That’s impossible, though. I’m imagining things. It’s not real, I tell myself, it’s not real…
I am thirteen years old and a little too ballsy for my own good.
“You ain’t shit,” I say out loud to a nighttime backyard. “You’ve been watching me for so long, but you won’t do anything. Either you aren’t real, or you’re a coward. Come on, if you’re supposed to be so scary and powerful. Prove it! Scare me!”
The feeling of being watched grows stronger, until it feels like someone is standing inches from my back, listening, laughing, but I stand my ground- I’m done being afraid, I tell myself, I’m done running from an imaginary threat.
For a while, my challenge goes unanswered- at least, as far as I know.
I am fourteen years old and nothing matters.
Most nights I’m left alone, staring out the window at the fire and glaring lights of the refineries, left alone with my thoughts and not much else to keep me busy. It becomes a daily struggle just to resist the darkness in my mind, just to believe in anything.
I feel so hopeless and lonely, I’ve started talking to him. No, not -him. He’s become closer and more defined, not a lurking force, but a person with a gender.
One day I forget to hate him, forget that he’s not real, and I begin to tell him all the things I can’t tell anyone real; all the things I mention in my journals but never really commit to because they aren’t things I really WANT to believe. I tell him there’s no point to anything, that everyone lies and no one cares. I tell him every day I give up a little more but I’m trying so hard not to because I don’t like the idea of being broken. I tell him I wonder I’d there’s something fundamentally wrong with me. I tell him I hate the world and everything in it. I tell him all kinds of dark, angry things that I only really half-mean.
I never thought he would start to answer me.
I’ve actually done the math on this one, and I’ve felt /primarily/ negative about my relationship with Set for approximately 91.8% of the time that I’ve known him. Of course, that’s factoring in the year before I knew anything about Egyptian mythology, and the year and a half that I refused to recognize the possibility that that very mythology was relevant to me. That’s also ignoring the fact that, obviously, there were handfuls of positive moments throughout that time, and probably would have been a lot more if it weren’t for my ignorance, distrust, and constant paranoia. But like they say, hindsight’s twenty-twenty. I think I’ve handled things about as well as I could’ve, given the circumstances.
It was a few months shy of my fifteenth birthday when he initiated me into the beginning of our current relationship (not to mention an entirely new perspective on the universe, including a hell of a heightened spiritual sensitivity that I had no context or understanding for). He did what I’ve since come to learn is more or less his standard approach to humans he’s decided he wants to work with: “You’re mine now and I don’t care what you think about it.” He let me know that he was a god -desperately though my younger monotheistic self was trying to deny it- that he was far older and stronger than me, that he had taken an interest and wasn’t above using force to get what he wanted; namely, my cooperation.
Maybe if I had known he wasn’t a demon, or that Set isn’t necessarily the “god of evil”, or that Set didn’t really care if I worshipped Jesus above him, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal. Unfortunately, I knew none of those things. So, I did the logical thing and freaked the FUCK out -so much so that the combination of the stress and the ill-advised “not eating or sleeping and overexerting myself for a week at a time” I went through as a way to “cope” with the struggle going on in my head ended up bringing on a psychotic break. Then, about two weeks before my birthday, I had another, worse break with reality. When I was finally lucid and stable I was so unnerved by the things I’d seen and heard and thought that I stopped writing altogether for a while because I just couldn’t handle thinking about anything that had happened. The dread I felt when the insanity faded, but the awareness of a menacing spiritual world all around me didn’t, ended up all directed back at the character that I considered responsible for the whole shitshow: Set.
My reasoning for writing about this huge sob story for the “relationship” prompt isn’t to demonize Set or make it sound like I’m unhappy with our relationship, but because to understand the way things are now, you have to understand how they used to be. For so long I was prey, irrevocably tied to a predator I didn’t understand, couldn’t see, and had no idea how to fight or run from- and the God I worshipped just told me that, despite a lifetime of religious teaching otherwise, this was what He wanted.
Set wasn’t a complete bastard to me, far from it; he was gentle and kind on a regular basis, but the fact remained that there was too much fear and resentment for me to accept his friendship….much less his leadership. (And let’s not even get into the fact that he decided he wanted me as a consort while I was in the middle of losing my mind, and once again, didn’t really seem to care what I thought about it. That was really just adding insult to injury imo.) So he was being nice, so what? I may have been young, but I’d already learned that ‘nice’ didn’t mean shit except that the person wanted something from you. I tried to ignore him, oh, did I ever.
But it didn’t work, because as I mentioned earlier, fear and resentment weren’t the only things I felt toward him, no matter what I told myself or him. He was funny and strong and told the truth even -or especially- when the truth was brutal; he made me proud of traits everyone else only ever criticized me for, challenged me to do better, push harder; he showed me a new way of looking at things that made the chaos and destruction and upheaval that looked inescapable seem like some of the beautiful things about life, instead of its antithesis. And, more than anything, he was there.
I’d grown accustomed to people leaving; Set didn’t. Even when I hated his guts or thought he was a twisted figment of my fractured mind, he was there, making smartassed comments and insisting this was nothing I couldn’t handle. Despite myself I came to trust him, because god of chaos or no, he is still one of the most solid, positive, healthy relationships I’ve ever had.
It just kind of took me a while to admit it.
I had to sleep, but I didn’t know how I could, with him watching me. I was laying on my back on an air mattress in the dark room of a two-bedroom trailer, and I was exhausted -fighting for control of your mind will do that to you- and yet I was still firmly gripped by insomnia. Finally I had won; I’d said screw you, you can’t have me, you never will. It had felt like an atomic blast had gone off inside me -but here he still was.
Oh, don’t mind me, he said sardonically, responding to my apprehension. You really think I’m going to attack you? After you’ve gone through all that?
I’m diabolical, not heartless. Go ahead and rest.
I sat there, stewing in suspicion. You’ve never shown me mercy before.
I usually don’t; unless someone’s earned it. And you’ve earned this. Rest.
He said the word forcefully and a wave of exhaustion swept over me. I started to sink into sleep, a welcome release, but I was still hesitant and uncertain, unwilling to trust this phantom I knew nothing about except that he had wanted to break me.
And yet, as my mind got foggy with sleep, I wasn’t really afraid of him anymore, exactly. I’d already been pushed to my limit, but hadn’t given in. So, what else could he do? Okay, probably tons of stuff, I amended. But maybe, if I could get him on my side…
It’s okay for us to get closer now, I told him.
He paused before answering me: Closer?
Like friends. Or a brother, maybe. But that’s all.
Yeah…He sounded smug and amused, like he was just about to tell the punchline of a joke at my expense. He leaned over my half-asleep form and suddenly my stomach twisted in a way completely unfamiliar to my fourteen year old self. That’s all.
No. I don’t accept it.
He says it so matter-of-factly, I’m a little taken aback. What do you mean, you don’t accept it? You can’t do that.
Sure I can. He’s so flippant and calm about it, even as I can feel his presence come closer and all but envelop me. Ever heard of not accepting an apology? Well, I’m not accepting your forgiveness.
Well, why not? I ask, annoyed. He’s always pulling this kind of shit; I mean, who doesn’t let someone forgive them? What does that even mean?
His answer is surprisingly gentle: Because, little ruler, it’s bullshit. You’re not over it. You’re still angry. He pauses, and I get the feeling he’s testing the waters. You still hate me.
There it is, the bait- I know that’s what it is, but I’m never able to resist. So what if I do? If I want to forgive you, that’s my decision, not yours! I snap.
See, that’s the thing. I bite my tongue and listen hard. You’re not doing me any favors by faking it. I know your religion is big on all this pacifistic ‘turn the other cheek’ stuff, but-
That’s not it. I can feel his interest as he waits for me to go on. This is what he’s been steering the conversation toward; making me explain myself is usually his end goal. I just can’t handle hating you anymore. It’s tearing me apart.
He’s quiet for a minute. Well, you’ve been torn apart before.
There’s not much else to say after that. In all honesty, maybe he has a point; if we really are in this for the long haul, having a bunch of buried resentment is only going to make things worse. Sometimes, though, I really just want things to be easy, and I’m so tired of struggling…but I guess making things easy isn’t really the point.